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The Facebook Farce

The Kremlin knows a bargain when it sees it.

We are supposed to believe that it bought the American presidential election last year with $100,000 in Facebook ads and some other digital activity. Frankly, if American democracy can be purchased this cheap — a tiny fraction of the $7.2 million William Seward paid to buy Alaska from the Russians back in 1867 — it’s probably not worth having.

The latest obsession in the Russian collusion story, the Kremlin’s digital activity has generated headlines and put Facebook and all of Silicon Valley on the defensive, although this looks to be one of the most overhyped stories of the year.

The Russians, as far as we know, bought more than $100,000 in Facebook ads between June 2015 and May 2017. A little more than half was spent after last November, when, obviously, Donald Trump had already won.

The scale here is singularly unimpressive. A serious House campaign might spend $100,000 on digital. In a presidential campaign, the amount is a rounding error. The Trump campaign spent around $90 million on digital in 2016. Hillary Clinton employed a considerable digital staff, and announced she was spending $30 million on digital the last month of the campaign alone.

If tens of thousands of dollars was decisive amid this tsunami of tens of millions, the Russian trolls working somewhere in St. Petersburg should strike out on their own and start a political consultancy or an Internet publishing company. They are geniuses.

Read more at National Review.

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